Mobb Deep, (comprised of Prodigy and Havoc), remains a household name for any fan of rap who fell in love with the genre in the 90s & 2000s. Even younger fans who listen to primarily recent new artists know the importance of the duo’s gritty New York street tales. And if the name doesn’t ring a bell, most fans of popular music can recognize the historic bass line from “Shook Ones (Part II)“, whether they can name it or not! Their music reached the hearts of fellow inner-city youths and out to the suburbs, and remains a global influence for up-and-coming rappers and producers.
While Mobb Deep has remained active (boasting eight albums in the past 21 years), both Havoc and Prodigy have been pursuing successful solo efforts since the early-2000s. Havoc is renowned as the production mastermind behind Mobb Deep, playing a major role in shaping New York’s hardcore hip hop sound with hard hitting beats and an array of sample styles. His beats are dark, his voice is deep, and he’s still as raw as he was on 1993’s Juvenile Hell – but now a bit older, wiser and experienced in the music industry. Havoc’s newest album 13 Reloaded, (being distributed through TuneCore), drops November 18th.
RCA, Columbia, BMG, and G-Unit are some of the labels to be involved with Havoc and Mobb Deep in their extensive careers. To be named the distribution choice of a legend like Havoc is a true honor for TuneCore, and we were psyched to get in touch with him about his upcoming release. We also discuss Havoc’s experiences in the industry, why he chose TuneCore, balancing writing/production responsibilities, and how to push your music globally.
TuneCore: You’ve been releasing music since Mobb Deep’s Juvenile Hell in 1993 – as time has passed, what drives you to write, produce and release in 2014?
Havoc: What drives me to produce in 2014 is my love and passion for what I do. I’m a true fan of hip hop and music in general. Being the artist that I am, I love to create and see people bop they’re heads and appreciate my work!
The industry has certainly changed since you got started. What advice can you offer independent MC’s and producers looking to take it global?
Yes, the industry has changed a lot from what it used to be since I first came into the game; but the advice I can give to up-and-coming producers and artists trying to take it global independently is utilize all the social media outlets available, and be relentless at it. Come up with new ways unforeseen with social media and be a trendsetter that no one can deny!
What can Havoc fans expect both conceptually and lyrically from 13 Reloaded?
What fans can expect from this album is that dark, gritty sound – not tainted by today’s cookie cutter sound. Conceptually, I’m taking people into the darkest corners of my mind and shedding light on what still goes on today twenty-years later.
It’s always great to see artists taking most of the production credits on an album – how do you divide your time between writing and producing leading up to the release of an album?
When I’m making a record I split my writing and producing time equally, because I love both the same. I can express myself on the both platforms.
(Video for new single, “Dirt Calls”)
In your legendary career, you’ve likely dealt with your fair share of labels, from major to indie. What made you and your team decide to choose TuneCore to distribute 13 Reloaded?
The reason why I chose TuneCore was because as you said I’ve had my fair share of labels major and independent. So we decided, ‘F**k it, cut out the middle man.’ Havoc and Mobb deep is already a brand that speaks for itself. And I am who I am already – I don’t need the extra bells and whistles.
What do fans have to look forward to about the release of 13 Reloaded in terms of touring and promotion? Any favorite international countries that show you a lot of love?
Fans can look forward to a nice little tour, most likely in Europe, for this new album 13 Reloaded. My favorite countries to tour are France and Sweden. They really show a lot of love, but don’t get it twisted – Europe in general shows a lot of love to hip hop!
Make sure to get your copy of 13 Reloaded (pre-order available) via iTunes on November 18th!